Mar 26 - It's a bird. It's a plane. It's a Flying Spur. The Bentley Flying Spur is not actually a flying car, but maybe it should be for the $200,500 price tag. So what do you get for almost a quarter of a million dollars? Conway G. Gittens takes an inside look.
If you have a sweet tooth for the finer things then prepare for a quarter of a million dollar sugar rush. The $200,500 Bentley Flying Spur will hit the road in the summer and while it's the outside of the car that might first catch the eye, it's the inside that sets the car apart, says Christophe George, President - North America of Bentley Motors. SOUNDBITE: CHRISTOPHE GEORGE, PRESIDENT OF NORTH AMERICA, BENTLEY MOTORS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The time we spend to craft the entire of the car, only would be the time you would need to produce seven or eight family hatchbacks." High-grain solid wood, a leather-steering wheel stitched by hand, hand-sewn leather seats crafted over massage equipment - are just some of the bell and whistles available for tweaking by customers, which analysts say still sets Bentley apart from its other peers in the uber-luxury car market. SOUNDBITE: CHRISTOPHE GEORGE, PRESIDENT OF NORTH AMERICA, BENTLEY MOTORS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "You can have different wood panels according to your taste, so you can really craft the car the way you like it to be. You can select the stitching color as well, so you can have cross-hair stitching. So with this detail you can really make the car you like to have." Responding to previous criticisms, Bentley is beefing up other parts of the inside: there's a wireless remote in the back of the car, on-board Wi-fi, USB ports, tablet holders, a DVD player, and two flat screen monitors in the back, so riders don't distract drivers. The buzz around the $200,000+ vehicle comes at a good time for Bentley. The unit of Volkswagen saw double-digit sales growth in the past two years, a pay-off George says for investing during the downturn. SOUNDBITE: CHRISTOPHE GEORGE, PRESIDENT OF NORTH AMERICA, BENTLEY MOTORS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We knew that in order to be able to emerge more strongly after the crisis we needed to continue to invest. We have invested heavily in new green technology, at the time in bio-fuel, we invested in a new product train, which is a V8 - delivering 40 percent more efficiencies." Sales are not yet back in the fast lane of pre-recession days but luxury car makers are seeing more of their key customers willing to step on the peddle and buy again.